Rosa M. Cabrera, PhD
Rosa M. Cabrera became the director of the Rafael Cintrón Ortiz Latino Cultural Center at UIC in the spring of 2011. She earned her Doctorate in Anthropology and Bachelors of Arts in Design from UIC. Cabrera has talked extensively on the role of ethnic museums and cultural centers in shaping community identity–which was the topic of her dissertation. Prior joining UIC, she was at The Field Museum where she led the "Cultural Connections" program, a partnership of more than 25 ethnic museums and cultural centers in Chicago that formed the Chicago Cultural Alliance in 2006 under her leadership. She also led a research team in a project with the Pilsen neighborhood’s Mexican and Mexican American community and the West Ridge’s South Asian community to better understand how cultural values and traditions impact residents’ understanding and practice of eco-friendly activities. She has collaborated with the museum and arts communities in national projects such as the Immigration Sites of Conscience Network, Americans for the Arts’ New Community Visions, the National Diversity Education Program, and Race: Are We So Different?, to increase public dialogue on pressing contemporary issues, while exploring the interplay between diversity and democracy.
Cabrera is affiliated faculty with the UIC Department of Anthropology, Latin American and Latino Studies (LALS) Program, and the Department of Art History’s Museum and Exhibition Studies (MUSE) Program. She is also a Keller Science Action Center Associate at The Field Museum. Her research interests include: the role of museums in civic participation and community identity formation; Latino identity and citizenship; the intersections of environmental sustainability, cultural diversity, and social justice; and the role of the arts to increase public dialogue on pressing social and environmental issues.
Cabrera is a 1.5 generation immigrant from Cuba who arrived with her mother in Chicago during a grey, snowy day in the 1970’s. She calls Chicago home and loves its parks and magnificent museums, the ‘L’ (elevated train), and diverse people committed to social change.
Edith Tovar, BA
Assistant Program Directoretovar4@uic.edu
Edith Tovar joined the LCC team in 2011. Her position has changed from Program Coordinator to Assistant Program Director, where she continues to work with UIC students by enhancing their knowledge and appreciation for Latinx cultures through various program initiatives. Specifically Noche de Poetas(Poetry Night), a series that invites students and community members from diverse backgrounds to share and compare their life, experiences through their own poetic words and sound. Each Open Mic is in partnership with four student organizations: MeSA, SAFEHR, SJP, and UPRS.
Edith has also developed the LCC’s internship program, a yearlong opportunity for students to improve or develop specific skills like public speaking, intercultural understanding, writing, digital marketing, and etc. through particular assigned projects. The internship program allows students to use their skills and assets to think creatively on how to address and complete their project(s).
Tovar was born and raised in Chicago’s La Villita community. As a first generation Mexican-American and youngest of four, she was the second in her family to graduate from a university. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Spanish-Economics with a minor in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Currently, Edith is seeking a Master’s in Urban Planning and Policy at UIC with a concentration in Environmental Planning and Policy. During the 2017 Urban Planning and Policy Student Association’s 7th annual Urban Innovation Symposium Networked [for Good], she was part of the committee that led her to develop the Water for a Region panel. This session allowed guests to explore the different approaches of environmental justice through various lenses such as academia, government agencies, and community organizing. Her research interests include, cultural planning, Place Lab’s ethical redevelopment, water remediation efforts of the Chicago River and entrepreneurship through a green economy.
Lena G. Reynolds, MA
Civic Engagement Educatorlreynol4@uic.edu
Lena became part of the LCC team as a Graduate Assistant in 2014, working on an exhibition entitled “Chocolate: Drink of Gods, Food of Mortals.” On display at UIC in 2015, the exhibit has since become a traveling show. In 2016, she organized the LCC archives in preparation for the Center’s 40th anniversary. Lena also established a tour training program for undergraduate students to learn artistic interpretation and tour facilitation skills, providing new programming for visiting groups. She also helped to expand the center’s Arts-Based Civic Dialogue program, creating an Immigration Dialogue and a grant-funded guide for the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience to help museums and cultural centers host community conversations about issues of Environmental and Climate Justice.
Lena received her Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Illinois in Urbana in 2010, and spent some time working at the Chicago History Museum and the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum. She recently completed a Master’s in Museum and Exhibition Studies at UIC with concentrations in History and Environmental studies, additionally working on projects for the National Museum of Mexican Art and the Field Museum. With roots in the neighborhood pre-UIC, Lena is a third-generation Irish/Mexican Chicagoan, who grew up on the Northwest Side in Independence Park. She currently lives in Jefferson Park with her partner and their Aussie pup Goose, and enjoys biking, camping, quilting, and exploring interesting museums. Lena believes in the power of cultural spaces to educate, entertain, and challenge our communities to build a more just society.
Jocelyn Munguía Chavez, BA
Jocelyn Munguía Chávez has been part of the LCC team since 2013. As a student educator, Jocelyn led mural tours with the LCC’s Awakening of the Americas indoor mural. Throughout the years, she was also responsible for overseeing the gallery space requests as well as digital marketing for public programs. Her organizational skills, commitment and love for photography and social justice were a perfect match for the center. The love for science and helping others led her to pursue a B.A. in Applied Psychology at UIC.
During her undergraduate efforts, she co-founded Fearless Undocumented Alliance (FUA). This student organization was created as a support group by and for undocumented students on campus. Under FUA, Jocelyn developed important leadership skills and was an advocate of educational equity through legislation. Her interests on education and mental health also complemented FUA’s initiatives, such as the mental health group sessions. After graduating, Jocelyn researched and archived the accomplishments of FUA and her collaboration with the LCC.
Jocelyn is now assisting with the development of public programs, initiatives and will oversee the digital marketing intern and graphic designer. One of her goals is to continue working with UIC students and contribute to students’ knowledge of intercultural understanding, writing, and digital marketing.